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Public Statements

Health Care Reform

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Judge Carter. I really appreciate you yielding to me tonight and appreciate you doing these Special Orders as we look at the President's proposal.

I went on the White House Web site this morning and looked at all of the parameters that were put forth, and I was looking for some legislative language. There's no bill. All they've put out is bullet points. So I went down through all those bullet points to try to figure out what's going on so that I could help inform my constituents in the Georgia's 10th Congressional District what the President was all about.

Now, let me back up a minute and say when the President announced that he was going to have a summit with Republicans and Democrats, that it was going to be televised, actually I was very hopeful that maybe we were going to get some bipartisanship, maybe we were going to get something done for the American people in the right way. But the more I've learned about that, the more I'm very fearful that this is nothing but political showmanship. It's a ruse.

The President, in secret--we don't have any clue of who is involved in putting together all these proposals that he's put forward. But in looking at those proposals, he says, if you have insurance, you can keep it.

Well, in the House bill, we saw that if you have insurance, you can't keep it. And we have a lot of people over here on the Democratic side that are very much in favor of nobody being able to keep their private insurance. They want to go to a single-party payer system, the government-run system. And, in fact, the President himself has said that the public option, or even the government exchange, is the first step toward getting the government to run everybody's health care. So a bureaucrat in Washington, DC, is going to tell my medical colleagues--I'm a medical doctor, as you know, Judge--is going to tell my medical colleagues how to treat their patients.

Well, in reading the President's proposals, nothing has changed. There's going to be a government exchange, and the vise is going to be put on small businesses as well as individuals so that they can't afford to keep their private insurance. It's going to run people away from their private insurance and run them into the government exchange so the government can control your health care, and that's not right.

It's going to be extremely expensive. It creates all these new taxes. We hear about all these tax cuts, but the tax cuts have not been fleshed out. We don't have any clue what they mean. And frankly, we do know that there are going to be tax increases on virtually everybody.

So it's going to destroy the quality of health care. It's going to mean that doctors, when they see their patients, can't make medical decisions because some bureaucrat in Washington, DC, is going to make those decisions for the doctor.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Will the gentleman yield for just a second?

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. You bet. Sure.

Mrs. LUMMIS. You mentioned something that I'm curious about. In one of the little summaries that I read when I arrived back in Washington today, it said that they were reducing the penalty for noncompliant health insurance under the Internal Revenue Code, but that implies that you cannot keep your health insurance if you want to because it implies that there is still going to be a requirement under the President's proposal that your insurance comply with government approval.

So, how can the President say, if you like your insurance you can keep it, when the fact of the matter is, if your insurance does not comply with government standards, that you will be penalized under the Internal Revenue Code for keeping that insurance?

And I yield back.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Well, Mrs. Lummis is exactly right. And that's the point I'm trying to make is that if you like your insurance you can't keep it. It's going to be too expensive. And this plan that the President has put forward is going to push everybody out of their private insurance on to a government insurance exchange; thus, the government is going to eventually take over the whole health care system.

But what I was fixing to say is that a patient can't make the decisions themselves either. So this is totally geared, it's a slippery slide into a government-run health insurance program so that the Federal Government is going to tell doctors and hospitals how to treat their patients, and tell patients, small businesses, individuals, about whatever kind of insurance. And if you don't take the government's insurance exchange, well, it actually mandates that you have insurance, which is totally unconstitutional.

Actually, the whole bill is unconstitutional that we saw in the House. The whole bill that we saw from the Senate is unconstitutional. I don't find anywhere in this document, the Constitution of the United States, anywhere that the Federal Government has the authority to take over the health care system in America. So that's what the President's proposal will do. That's what the House bill does. That's what the Senate bill does.

And the President said we're going to have this bipartisan meeting, and I was very hopeful, as I said previously. But our leadership, I've talked to them individually. They went to the President in a private meeting. The President said, You start with my plan. He's told our leadership, Republicans are going to have to accept some things that you don't like. He said that he would not take the ramrod over in the Senate of budget reconciliation off the table. And this is what they're talking about today.

Just today the President's spokesman has said, We're going to run it through no matter how we can get it, over all of the public's wishes. Seventy percent of the American public, in the latest poll I saw, said that either we start over or do nothing, 70 percent.

But why is this being forced down the throats of the American people? It's because this administration, the leadership in the House and the Senate, want to take over health care, and that's the only reason that they're doing this. And they think, I believe that they think that if they do it now, that maybe the economy will get better and they won't be punished so much at the ballot box in November.

But this is going to be disastrous. It's going to destroy the quality of health care. It's going to take the choice away from patients, away from doctors. It's going to mean that everybody's health care cost is going to go up. And Mrs. Lummis, the reason CBO has not scored it is because they said today they cannot score it because of all these gigantic tax increases and other things that the President proposed.

So this summit on the 25th is nothing but political showmanship. It's trying, in my opinion, to make it look to the American people like we're working in a bipartisan way, but we're absolutely not doing so. And it's a ruse. It's absolutely a ruse. And the American people deserve better, should demand better, should demand something totally different. And it's up to the American people to tell their Congressmen and their Senators, We're not going to have a government takeover of health care forced down our throats. We say no. And if you don't say no to this government takeover, we're going to say no to you in November. So I hope the American public will do that.

And I yield back to the judge.

Mr. CARTER. Thank you.

Reclaiming my time, you said something that I think is important because I'm going to tell you that I'm concerned that all this is is a media event and all this is--so I'm going to ask people to listen for some things that probably will come out of this event. I think you may hear that the President reached out a hand and the Republicans gave back a fist. I think you may hear that the Republicans continue to be the Party of No. Well, first, what's wrong with being the Party of No if it's bad policy?

You got elected to come down here and represent people who expected you to stand up and say, This is bad. No.

Secondly, let's get this very clear. The Republicans don't have any way to stop this bill, especially in this House. They have an overwhelming majority. It's their party they can't get the votes from. It's not the Republican votes blocking this bill; it's the Democrat votes that are blocking this bill.

So this whole thing, if we're going with the same work product they've already created, then it is a sham to go over there and deal with the work product that has already been created because they know they can't pass it, and they know the American people don't want them to pass it. So let's do what he said he was going to do and let's start over.

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I submit the Republican Party is the party of k-n-o-w, know, because we know how to lower the cost of health care.

I introduced a bill--that's H.R. 3889--which is a comprehensive health care financing reform, and we put doctors and patients in charge of their health care dollars, health care expenses.

We know how to give patients the ownership of their insurance so that they can solve the portability problems. We know how to insure the uninsurable as well as the uninsured in this country. We know how to stimulate the economy and to create jobs. But every effort that we've made to do all of these things has been blocked by the leadership of the Democratic Party.

We are the party of k-n-o-w. We do know how to do those things.

I have sent the President a letter. In fact, I have reached out to the President. He said if anybody has any ideas, please contact him. I have made many efforts to reach out to him to stimulate the economy, create jobs, to solve the health care financing crisis, to lower the cost of health care. Guess how many times I've been responded to. Zero. The White House is not interested in hearing from this doctor. And in fact, there is not a single medical doctor that's been invited to the White House on the 25th of February.

I am the vice chairman of the Doctors Caucus, the GOP Doctors Caucus here in this House. And nobody from the Doctors Caucus, the chairman, none of us vice chairmen--me and another co-vice chairman--have not been invited. Dr. Michael Burgess, who is on the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Health Subcommittee, he has not been invited as far as I know. So not a single doctor has been invited to this meeting on Thursday, the 25th of February. They don't want to hear from us.

They have one agenda, and that is to force down the throats of the American people a government-run health care system. And that is actually what, if you read all of the parameters of what the White House put out on their Web site today, that is exactly where it's going to lead. And the President himself said that is what he wants to do.

It's up to the American people to stop it, to contact their Congressmen, contact their Senators, and say ``no'' to this government takeover of health care. We will not fall for this trick, this ruse, this political theater that is going to come about on Thursday, not fall for that trick and understand that this is not a reaching out.

And just like you said, Judge Carter, I think you're going to hear a lot of things: We reached out to the Republicans, but they're obstructionists. They have no ideas, no ideas whatsoever. They're the Party of No. Well, we are the party of k-n-o-w. We can solve these problems.

And let me say one other thing before I yield back. I have challenged Democrats individually, as well as I wrote an op-ed with two of our colleagues, John Shadegg and Charley Dent, challenging Democrats to introduce a bill that would do four things: Number one is to have across-State-line purchasing for individuals and for businesses; number two, to establish association pools so that anybody could join any kind of association in this country and have these huge pools to offer one or more insurance products; number three, to establish State high-risk pools to cover the uninsurable; and number four, to have tax fairness to give 100 percent tax deductibility for all health care expenses.

I've had Democrat after Democrat say, Paul, I'd like to do that. I'd like to introduce it. I told them we'd give them the legislative language. All they had to do is write their name in the blank, and the three of us Republicans would work it on our side. I think we'd get 100 percent of the Republicans to vote for that bill, and we'd get most of the Democrats. But Democrat after Democrat after Democrat has told me individually, privately, I can't do it because my leadership will punish me if I were to introduce that bill and work it on my side.

We need to step back, clear the deck. Let's go ahead and start off and work off in an incremental bipartisan way to find a commonsense market-based solution so that people's insurance is lower than it is today and that they and their doctors are in control of their health care decisions. And that is what we're trying to do on the Republican side.


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